Saturday, 31 January 2015

Joe King meets Fatty

Here's a preview of an upcoming Joe King strip, which I think is the one scheduled for next Wednesday's Beano. Once again I've included a guest-star in the strip and this time it's Fatty from the Bash Street Kids. 

This one takes us nearly half way through the series with another six to follow. Unfortunately the mini-strips in The Beano only run for about 11 weeks at a time. (Which is understandable as they want to keep things fresh.) It always takes a while to get used to drawing a new character and I felt I was getting into my stride with this episode. I hope to work on the character again one day. 

Friday, 30 January 2015

Thank you!

I'm really pleased that within 24 hours of my new Facebook page going live it's received over 300 'likes'. (That's the number of people following updates on it, for those of you not on Facebook.) My thanks to all of you.

Some of the material I'll post over there will be the same stuff I post on this blog, but some of it will be different. A few hours ago I posted a preview of my next strip for Doctor Who Magazine over there for example. I'll also be uploading some older material. 

If you're on Facebook, any 'likes' would be very welcome.

Thursday, 29 January 2015


...and I'm not just talking about Rasher's waistline in this scene from this week's Beano! I'm expanding my social networking with a new Facebook page that I set up last night. You'll find it here:

I've had a FB page for friends only for years which has a private setting but I thought it was about time I created a public one that anyone can access. I'll be showing bits of art there, plus news of upcoming strips, convention appearances etc. So if you like my artwork and you're on Facebook please 'follow' and give it a 'like'. Much appreciated. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Preview pig pic

Here's a preview of the Rasher strip for this week's Beano. Again I'm showing a photo of the original art so you can see the construction lines (in blue pencil). The published version will of course be in full colour, but to see that you'll have to pick up The Beano, out tomorrow, 28th January.  

Support British comics. It's the decent thing to do. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Joker and the Minx

Here's an advance preview of an upcoming Joe King strip which guest stars Minnie the Minx! As you can see, this is photographed from my original art, before I'd scanned it into Photoshop to tidy up and colour.

By my calculations this should be the one in this week's Beano, out on Wednesday!  

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Saga of MACHO MAN!

The recent news that Marvel USA are producing a new Secret Wars comic series this summer reminded me that back in the 1980s I did some back up strips for Marvel UK's Secret Wars 2 weekly. In those days I was a frequent contributor to Marvel UK's comics, mainly due to editor Richard Starkings who gave me plenty of work. 

For Secret Wars 2 I created and submitted a full page comedy superhero strip called Macho Man. There wasn't enough room in the comic's crammed 28 pages to accommodate a full page extra so it was decided the origin story would be split in two halves, and subsequent episodes would be created as half pagers. Macho Man began in Secret Wars 2 No.42 (dated 19th April 1986) accompanied by a warm editorial welcome message...
Due to shortage of space, Macho Man only appeared occasionally, and only had 11 episodes in total. However I've always enjoyed doing superhero spoofs so brief as it was it was always great fun to do. The strip appeared in Secret Wars 2 Nos.42, 44, 51, 52, 53, 58, 63, 67, 69, 75, and 79 (3rd January 1987). Here they are. (As always, click images to enlarge them.)

A printing error with the colour on this one unfortunately.

That wasn't the end of the character though. I've always liked to incorporate the characters I've created into a shared universe so a couple of years later in 1989 Macho Man turned up during the six part Combat Colin story The Place of No Return in Transformers No.245. (Reprinted in 2005's Brickman Begins! as Village of the Doomed.) Here's a segment...
The battle in the village bonded Colin and the other characters as pals so Macho Man returned again in Transformers Nos.270 and 271 during Colin's fight against a mystery villain...

Macho Man returned one final time, in an episode of the Combat Colin serial The Invasion of Megabrain (Transformers No.296, November 17th, 1990) where he met his fate...
Yep, I killed off one of my characters. Permanently! In a Marvel comic! Never to return. 

...and that was the short career of Norman Dribble AKA Macho Man. I hope you've enjoyed it. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Something for various tastes

There are five publications on the shelves at the moment that I've contributed to, which hopefully will appeal to a variety of readers. 

The Beano No.3768 (DC Thomson): This week's issue contains new Rasher and Joe King mini strips for kids of all ages. £2.20

Doctor Who Magazine No.482 (Panini Magazines): The Daft Dimension strip, featuring the 12th Doctor, Clara, and a bunch of famous monsters. £4.99

Toxic No.249 (Egmont UK): A new Team Toxic two-pager with 'gross' humour for kids as the Team meet Butt-Face again! £2.99

Marvel Fact Files No.97 (Eaglemoss): I've written a two page article on the Incredible Hulk's UK strips. (More info here: ) £3.99

Grindhouse No.1 (Dark Horse): Published last month but still on sale in comic shops. I created a new full page strip, - Snowmanic! - that appears on the back cover. Adults only. $3.99

Don't forget that the Skikkums app I did all the art for is still available for a free download:

As you can gather, I've been busy recently. The fear of any freelancer though is that we're never sure how long it'll last. I've completed all my Beano work now (which will still appear over the next 8 weeks or so) but hopefully I'll be commissioned for more shortly. Lots to do over the next week or two for other publishers thankfully and I'll tell you about that soon. In the meantime, buy comics!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015


There's a new issue of Toxic out this week (Wednesday 21st January) which sees the return of Butt-Face in the two page Team Toxic strip I wrote and illustrated. The cheeky faced villain is up to no good as usual in a story I've called Foggy Fright!

I recently gave the strip a bit of a facelift by designing a new logo. The one that had been running across the top of page one for several years looked like this... I thought a box logo would make a change and redesigned it like this...

I drew the Team Toxic logo by hand (just as I did with the old one) but I used a font for the story title which is consistent with the one used throughout Toxic magazine. (I did all the colouring in Photoshop of course.) As with the old logo, I drop in a different story title every issue. 

Anyway, if you want to see how Foggy Fright turns out, pick up a copy of Toxic No.249 this week!

Memories of TV21

I'm feeling ancient today because it's been exactly 50 years to the day since TV Century 21 No.1 was published on Wednesday January 20th 1965, and I had that first issue! For many of us, TV21 was the best comic of the 1960s, and it was certainly a big inspiration to me, boosting my interest in comics and stirring my imagination as a five year old.

Stingray! Fireball XL5! Supercar! Daleks! All in one comic that had a cover date set 100 years in advance! What could be better for a child in 1965? Little did I know back then that half a century later I'd be commissioned to draw a Zoony the Lazoon strip for the one-off revival of TV21 last year, and be drawing Daleks for the official Doctor Who Magazine. But 50 years ago today was where I first saw those characters in comic strip form, igniting a passion to draw Daleks in wax crayon in my school books. These days I use ink and colour them by computer. Life in the 21st Century!

The photo at the top of this post shows me as a very happy 6 year old, having just purchased TV21 No.26 whilst on holiday in Blackpool in 1965. That's my Aunt Joan and my Dad in the picture. Photo taken by my Mum. All are sadly gone now.

In celebration of the anniversary of TV21 No.1 I've written a post over on my other blog showing pages from the comic, photographed from my copy. See it here:

Monday, 19 January 2015

Joe King preview

I'm working on the last of the Joe King strips today, but here's a photograph of the original art from one I drew a couple of months ago. You can expect to see various Beano characters guest-starring in the Joe King strips over the coming weeks, and for this one I chose Ball Boy. I based him on the style of Chris McGee's version as that's the one currently running in the comic.

If the strips are being published in the order I drew them, this one should appear in this week's Beano, on sale Wednesday.  

Saturday, 17 January 2015


Here's another Combat Classic, - the Combat Colin strip from Marvel UK's The Transformers No.269 from 1990. 

To explain the background to this one; for many years I had an annual holiday with a bunch of good friends to the Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales. We'd all met via attending conventions there for the TV series The Prisoner, but we were so impressed with the village that several of us decided to have additional holidays there at a different time of the year with no connection to the conventions. We'd rent a couple of cottages in Portmeirion and chill out for a week. Many Combat Colin plots were devised during that time, sometimes based on things people said or did, which is why the strip took a more surreal turn in its later episodes. 

As you may know, Portmeirion is a serene place, pretty much unspoilt by the world around it. So for this particular episode I thought I'd depict it as a twisted, commercialised version, even suffering a name change to 'Merryport-On-Sea'. Most of the characters in the strip by this time were based on friends of mine to some extent, although I always tried to keep the humour accessible to the general reader and not so in-jokey as to alienate anyone. 

Anyway, that explanation is longer than the strip itself, so I'll let you get on with reading it!

If you want to find out more about The Prisoner TV series and/or Portmeirion, take a look at The Unmutual Website:

Oink! 46 cover

I think I drew 5 covers in total for Oink! during its two and a half year run. This was the second one I designed, which appeared on issue No.46 back in January 1988! I wanted to show a selection of the varied characters that appeared in the comic, so although I included my own Pete and His Pimple and Tom Thug, it meant I had to 'ghost' the styles of Frank Sidebottom, Jeremy Banx and others to a certain extent. 

It didn't turn out too badly although I can't help thinking I'd have made a better job of the colouring had Photoshop been available back then. (I much prefer colouring by compluter than using a brush.)

If you're interested in what was inside the issue, check out Phil Boyce's piggin' brilliant Oink! Blog as he's got that issue hogging the spotlight this week!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Friday Fun: Combat Colin

It's been a while since I posted an old Combat Colin strip on this blog so here's a page I did for Marvel UK's The Transformers No.252, way back in 1990! (Click image to see it larger.) 

As well as writing and drawing Combat Colin I also did all the lettering, sound effects, and logos. Although in retrospect I feel that camouflage-effect logo was too cluttered and messy. Sometimes I'd do complete stories like this one, sometimes short serials, and I'd often design specific logos for each serial. 

I'm amazed to think this was 25 years ago. One of these days I'll have to publish a collection of these strips. 

One of these days...

Thursday, 15 January 2015


A few people have been showing the contents of their bookcases online so I thought I'd do the same. The books we collect inspire us, and in my case, as with most comic artists, they reflect my tastes in comics and in the history of comics. (Plus a few DVDs.) These are only some of the books I have. Others are on shelves that need tidying up before I photograph them, or stored in comic boxes. (Or lying around my 'studio' amongst piles of reference comics.)

I've shown a few of the books in more detail over on my other blog recently. If you're interested you can see those posts by clicking here and here.

I'm in the process of sorting stuff out and moving books around, which is why there are gaps in some shelves. (I'll probably get rid of those 'Essential Hulk' and 'Captain America' books once I've read them too.) The top shelf in this next pic needs a few more books added to straighten things up a bit. I took some out for reference a while ago and never replaced them.

I understand the term for posting photos of one's books on the Internet is 'shelf porn'! I think the nearest thing to actual porn there is the Jane At War paperback which reprinted wartime Daily Mirror strips. Lots of bare ankles on display in that one. 

Anyway, thems me books. You might see a few you have yourselves. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Rasher in production (Sept. 2013)

Those of you who bought The Beano Annual 2015 will have seen the Rasher mini-strips I did for it so I thought I'd show you this photo I took when they were in the pencil stage. This was back in September 2013, about 10 months before the books were published, so you can appreciate how far in advance we draw the strips for the annuals.

The deadlines on the weekly aren't so far in advance, - just a few weeks, - but the production time on annuals has always been many months ahead of publication. 

UPDATE: As soon as I'd uploaded this post I had a suspicion I'd posted this photo before, so I checked the archives and sure enough there it was back in July 2014 (here). Sorry about that! 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Previews: This week's Rasher and Joe King

Here's a quick preview of panels from the mini-strips I have in the upcoming issue of The Beano, on sale Wednesday 14th January. Rasher daydreams of Bat-Pig and Superpig, whilst Joe King has a joke for softy Walter. 

Both strips will run for about 11 weeks. I'm drawing the last two Joe King strip this week. After that, who knows? 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015


A black day for satire. A black day for humanity. Anyone who uses religion as an excuse for murder is a psychopath.

I fear this massacre will only play into the hands of opportunist politicians and the far-right hate groups and their ignorant supporters, eager to tar all Muslims with the same brush. 

My sympathies to the families and friends of the cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine at this tragic time. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Snowman of Doom!

Over on The Oink! Blog, blogmaster Phil Boyce has shown a few more pages from the excellent Oink! Book 1988. It includes a two-page Pigswilla strip I wrote/drew/lettered entitled The Snowman of Doom! It includes an appearance by Specky Hector, Comics Collector, who I later brought back for his own series of comic history articles in Buster

I really enjoyed drawing The Snowman of Doom and you can see the full story here:

There are also pages by Oink's top talents such as Banx's highly inventive Hector Vector and his Talking T-Shirt, and Ian Jackson's Mary Lighthouse. Take a roam through Phil's blog to see what a great comic Oink! was, both to read and to work for. 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New to The Beano this week

Looks like my new strips are starting in The Beano sooner than I expected. This coming Wednesday (Jan 7th) will see the start of a Joe King mini strip! Joe is an old character from the 1990s (that Bob Dewar used to draw) and prior to this I'd only drawn head shots of the character for the jokey straplines throughout the comic. I've retained Joe's look of course but I haven't tried to emulate Bob Dewar's brilliantly distinctive style. I hope the readers enjoy the strip, which will run for a couple of months. I think I've drawn nine so far. John Anderson wrote the first one (preview above) and I've written the rest.

Also in the same issue, Rasher returns for another series, written and drawn by me. I started drawing this new series back in July of last year so I'm looking forward to seeing it in print. Here's a preview of the first in the new series although they may appear in a different order to how I drew them. 

These two mini strips replace the Ivy the Terrible half-pagers I'd been doing.

Never Be Without A Beano! On sale Wednesday. £2.20.    

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Go Daft this Thursday!

Another of my Daft Dimension strips will appear in Doctor Who Magazine this week when the latest issue arrives in shops on Thursday 8th January. There's a preview of a detail from it above. 

The 84 page issue will also contain Part 2 of Mike Collins' 12th Doctor strip The Instruments of War (featuring the Sontarans) plus loads of articles, reviews, interviews with Peter Purves and Jenna Coleman and much more.

Doctor Who Magazine No.482. £4.99. Here's the cover to look out for...